Do hauntings occur? We like to believe they do. The problem is that it’s nearly impossible to prove them when they do happen. It’s easy for skeptics to come up with alternative answers that we can’t disprove either, “You were just seeing things”, “That’s just light glare in that photo”, “Someone was playing a trick on you”.
People want hard evidence. Until we can pull a ghost out of our pocket and shove it in their face, or until someone comes up with a Ghostbuster vacuum, we’re kind of stuck with nothing more than our belief in the stories we hear from those that have experienced these encounters.
Personally, I do believe that hauntings can and do occur. We just don’t have the understanding or the tools to measure them yet. Logic tells me that we have a lot left to learn about our world and our universe, that there are things that effect our physical realm in strange ways.
Well, that and the fact that I have my own story to share.
Fresh out of my sophomore year in college, I needed to save some money, so my sister and I decided to share a small house situated in a decent, older part of town. It had two bedrooms, a small bath, a living room, and a kitchen with a recessed area for a small table and a few chairs. It was an ideal situation, because our work and school schedules meant that we’d rarely be at the house at the same time, except for weekends, so we effectively had a house to ourselves for the majority of the time. Shortly after getting settled in, some rather unusual things began occuring which ultimately led me to believe that we had a ghost living with us.
The first incident happened to me early one morning after the sun had risen and I was about to get up for the day. I heard the muffled voice of a woman talking. I couldn’t make out what she was saying, but my first thought was that the voice was outside the closed window next to me, and what I was hearing was simply my neighbors out in their yard having a conversation. I sat up and looked out the window, and immediately realized that the voice I heard was coming from ABOVE me and not at all from outside. No one was out there, and as I turned towards the cieling, the voice immediately stopped. I checked for my sister, but she was already up and gone for the day. The house had no attic. I dismissed the incident by convincing myself that I had either been dreaming or hearing things.
And then I began noticing that someone was messing with my stereo system which sat in the livingroom. My mornings usually began with me turning on the radio to listen to my favorite rock station as I got ready for work or school. This particular stereo had no preset station buttons, but relied upon a tuning knob which I never used because, as far as I was concerned, there was only one station worth listening to. On several occasions, I would press in the power button, only to be greeted by loud static mixed with the sounds of an out-of-tune station (each time this happened, I’d inevitably jump from the loudness and pure surprise). Each and everytime this happened the BALANCE knob was invariably turned all the way to the left or right speaker as well. There was nothing mechanically or electrically wrong with the stereo, it was simply that the knobs had been turned, seemingly random and haphazard. I assumed it was my sister playing some sort of trick on me, despite her earnest insistence that she never touched my stereo.
The event that ultimately led me to re-examine the totality of the circumstances occured one weekend when my sister was washing the dishes. We took turns doing various chores, including hand washing after meals, and whenever it was my sister’s turn, she would remove her rings and place them on the table which sat across from the sink. I was relaxing on the couch watching television when my sister walked in from the kitchen.
“Have you seen my ring?” she asked as she dried her hands with a dishtowel. While she wore several rings, whenever she spoke of “her ring”, she invariably meant the antique diamond ring she’d found at a local yard sale for next to nothing. It was her pride and joy.
“No,” I responded immediately, “Didn’t you put it on the table?”
“Yeah, but I can’t find it!” she replied tearfully in near-panic.
I got up and helped her look for that ring for at least an hour. We searched the entire kitchen, including behind everything on the counters. We moved the stove, refrigerator, and table. We checked every corner, every nook and cranny. “The ring” was gone. Needless to say, she was rather depressed the rest of the weekend, and several times we rechecked the kitchen and other parts of the house. Nothing.
Monday morning rolled around, and I got up early for a class. My sister was still sleeping. I went into the kitchen to have a bowl of cereal. When I sat down at the table, I nearly inhaled a mouthful of Cheerios when I noticed her ring sitting right in the middle of the table, exactly where she always left it when washing dishes.
When the month’s rent was due, I hand delivered it to the landlord, and asked about the previous tenant.
“She was a nice old lady. Lived there for nearly 10 years,” he said. “Sharp as tack, but stubborn as hell. Wouldn’t accept any help, even when her age caught up with her brain the last few months before she died. Went quietly in her sleep there at the house.”
I went back home and sat quietly on the couch, and suddenly, everything made sense. The voice I heard overhead, how confusing a fancy stereo with all sorts of knobs and dials would be (and how she would undoubtedly abhor Rock and Roll), and the attraction of an old ring that might remind her of her own era, and how she might want to borrow it, if only for a little while.